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2004 Deville
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80 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I am a professional Toyota / Subaru mechanic and new member. After some searching I found this super cheap crashed Deville.
I am trying to have a running , driveable luxury cruiser on a budget. So far I'm on target. The car was in decent condition until it was wrecked.
ImageUploadedByTapatalk1364134136.738203.jpg
The good side.
ImageUploadedByTapatalk1364134164.352600.jpg
The other side.
I spent a few hours with hammers and pry bars getting the fender mounts in line and putting on this tester fender that came with the car.
The stock front wheel was smashed in the crash. They put the rear on the front and doughnut on the rear.
The shop I bought it from did a half shaft , strut and control arm in that corner. I'm praying I can align it to drivable condition.
I was also worried about the head gasket. No bubbles in the res when I rev the engine and it passed smog. I'm worried because it has a coolant leak, smells like coolant and I found a thermostat in the trunk. Time will tell. Despite all the trouble of rebuilding this car I'm really glad I found one that has the color combo and features I was looking for. I wanted silver ext black int and the cooled seat option.
So far my kids and dog have enjoyed sitting in the car. I hope my wife comes around soon. ImageUploadedByTapatalk1364134728.587936.jpg
 

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2001 Seville STS, 1990 Seville (RIP), 1972 Sedan Deville
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26,323 Posts
:welcome: and good luck with the project.

FWIW, the definitive test for HG issues is a block test, not looking for bubbles. The Northstar doesn't show any of the typical symptoms of HG failure (smoking exhaust, mixing coolant with oil) until the later stages.
 

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2004 Deville
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80 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I have a block tester at work I'll give it a try when I bring the car in to align. I hope I can align this thing. Second looming issue would be head gasket. I brought a friend who is good with suspension when I bought the car and he thought the frame was straight.
 

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Super Moderator
White Diamond '03 DHS (with DTS floor shift)
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86,783 Posts
HG failure are not very common on the '04's, but a thermostat in the trunk is rather worrisome. That said, Northstars HG failures never leak externally. That fact that you can smell coolant is a good thing.
 

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2004 Deville
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80 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the info. The never external leaks is a relief to hear. ImageUploadedByTapatalk1364148458.406650.jpg
This car is absolutely beautiful. I can't wait to get it on the road.
 

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Super Moderator
White Diamond '03 DHS (with DTS floor shift)
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86,783 Posts
P.S.
They don't leak coolant into the oil either. When a HG goes, the coolant always goes out the tailpipe.
 

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2004 Deville
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80 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Here is a shot of the inner fender after I adjusted to allow a fender to be installed and the hood to close. ImageUploadedByTapatalk1364190969.618103.jpg
I had to beat the sh** out of the structure under the fender to straighten the line the fender bolts to. This is a salvage title so little resale value. I decided to do the body work my self quick and dirty. I will be getting a few more body parts from a same year same color wreck. It should look pretty good when im finished except the inner fender under the hood.
When doing the body work I noticed how easy it is the remove the top of the air box with two thumb screws and how easily the cruise control actuator came off.
The small water pump belt on the back side of the motor is unusual too. This car is a pleasure to work on so far.
 

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2004 Deville
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80 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Doing my alignment and brake and light inspection today. If these two items go well I will just need to hit the DMV and I'm ready to go!!
 

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Master of the Dark Art of Diagnostics
2003 DHS - two-2002 DHS, 2003 SLS, 1995 Sedan DeVille, 1989 Coupe DeVille
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19,270 Posts
Couldn't be much harder than head gaskets on a Subaru. Everyone thinks subarus are such great cars despite huge numbers of head gasket failures. Since they have a boxer motor the hg can't be done in car, engine must come out.
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the hg can't be done in car,
engine must come out

same with the Northstar -

the difference is that with the Northstar -
you drop the entire engine/trans/cradle -
and lift the car off of it - about 8 hours labor -
THEN you start ripping things apart -
 

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2000 DHS
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535 Posts
I had a blown head gasket, became a winter project for 3 or 4 months, but I studded the engine and rebuilt brakes, power steering, suspension, etc. Not a small undertaking but I am not a professional mechanic and I was successful with it.

Don't mean to be discouraging but that is probably the single biggest PIA you would ever have to deal with on these cars. A lot of really nice cars are dumped for scrap value over this. Scrap yards are full of clean devilles.
 

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2004 Deville
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80 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Ok I got a wheel and replaced the stupid doughnut that was on my Deville when I bought it. After that I went straight to the alignment rack. The shop I worked at before has a nice Hunter alignment rack. I am just learning to use it.
I set the toe which was way off. That made the car drivable. The caster was off 4 degrees- a lot. The camber about 1.2 degrees. I did not set the camber or caster but I read that caster will necessitate moving the sub frame or slotting the holes for the top strut mount and moving the top of the strut. Camber should be easy by loosening the bottom strut mount and maybe installing a cam bolt. Any alignment experts out there. Is 4 degrees caster fixable?
I will attempt a fix regardless of the advice I get here just wondering what these numbers mean.
 

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2004 Deville
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80 Posts
Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
I also noticed my half shaft was spitting grease. Interesting half shafts on these cars. The outer has a different type of seal that I am used to seeing. There is no boot on there.
Edit:
I got a closer look at my half shaft. It is a regular black rubber boot that has been nicely split and evenly covered with grease. Looks like I will either need to reboot it or get a cheap rebuilt half shaft.
 

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1994 SLS x 2 ---- 1993 Eldorado Sport ----- 1994 Deville 4.9
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1,540 Posts
Looking at the picture you posted.
If it were me?
I would be looking for a frame alignment and straightening shop.
Get everything pulled back to where it is suposed to be.
Then see what the alignment looks like.

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2002 Seville SLS
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11 Posts
After an accident, I had to have my strut tower re-drilled to fix the the alignment so it wouldn't drift to the side. Easy fix.
 

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2004 Deville
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80 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Of course I would go to a shop with a frame bending / alignment rig if I had a good budget. Since I am working with very little cash I will try filing the holes in the strut tower. The instructions that the hunter alignment machine was feeding me said to move the strut forward or back in the top mount. It showered a pic of a deville strut tower with arrows pointing forward and back. It also said you may need to grind the holes to make adjustments. I then removed the three top bolts on the strut tower and jacked up the front of the car using the handy built in jack on the alignment rack. The strut came down away from the strut tower a few inches without having to disassemble the whole front suspension. I did not have a Dremel handy so I just drilled out the two plastic cone shaped centering rivets and reassembled called it a day. I'll put it back on the rack with a Dremel and camber adjustment cam bolt at the ready and try again when I get some time. I'll take pictures next time. Part of my motivation for buying a crashed deville was to learn how to use an alignment rack. So far that part of the plan is working.
 

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2004 Deville
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80 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Installed a camber adjustment cam bolt in the knuckle to strut connection point. That fixed my camber issue. The caster is still out of spec by about 1/2 degree. I filed the holes in the strut tower but it did not really address my issue. I will try replacing the knuckle next. Part of my motivation for buying a crashed car was to learn about alignment.
After driving with the caster out of spec today I see what it does. It tends to make the car drift durning hard acceleration. When cruising or decel it stays straight.
 

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1994 SLS x 2 ---- 1993 Eldorado Sport ----- 1994 Deville 4.9
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1,540 Posts
Caster can be a terrible thing.
positive caster can make the steering very heavy and it will not want to return to center
negative caster will make the steering twitchy and if you hit a road inperfection with some speed it could go into a condition termed "Death Wobble"

Good to read you are making progress:)
 
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